There are many complex and political challenges faced by companies working with large and diverse supply chains. For the cocoa sector, child labour, attaining a living income and deforestation are often seen as the most urgent. However, one area that affects productivity, profitability and reputation but is relatively easy to solve is workers’ nutrition.
Improving workforce nutrition is relatively uncontroversial. It can be added to existing business structures without significant cost and can help build resilience and healthy immune systems that help protect against the worst effects of COVID-19. Workforce nutrition can even promote new income streams for smallholder farmers.
Building on the success of the Seeds of Prosperity programme, a workforce nutrition programme in the tea sector, the CocoaNutrition Innovation Project (CNIP) gives major cocoa companies and the small-scale farmers in Ghana a way to work together to improve the farmers’ nutrition. It has improved the diet of the cocoa farmers involved, and contributed to healthier lives and better finances. This has been achieved through increasing access and demand for nutritious food, and training and behaviour change techniques, benefiting health, productivity and relationships.